What my children taught me about orbits and volcanoes.


This evening, after Daddy came home from work, the boys presented their first research projects. I am very proud.
Middly went first. He told us what he had discovered about volcanoes and showed us a little globe with the ‘ring of fire’ drawn on it.

He read the facts he had written down (only stopping once to puzzle out his handwriting – I’m hoping this will do more to convince him of the importance of legible writing than my complaints do). Then he did a volcano experiment.

He mentioned how his first try of this experiment hadn’t quite gone to plan (he’d forgotten to crumble up the baking soda and citric acid mixture to make the reaction quicker) and he made sure that it went perfectly this time.

Seeing him bring this project to completion was wonderful. Middly isn’t always very keen on completing his projects, and this one has lasted almost three weeks. But he kept going and saw it through to the end. I am pretty sure that he’s proud of himself too!
Eldest’s presentation was on Orbits. He had carefully arranged his speech, even planning the explanation for his demonstrations. He was very formal and serious about his project.
He started by rolling a ball on the floor and talking about friction. He threw it to demonstrate the Earth’s gravity. Then, using a string tied to the ball to represent gravity, he span the ball in an ‘orbit’ around his head.
He told us some things he had discovered about space, then finished with another demonstration. He put a quilt on the floor and put several marbles and a tennis ball on it. Then he rolled a football onto the quilt to demonstrate how the size of objects and their distance apart dictates how they react to each other’s gravitational pull. Some small objects collide, if they are too close. Objects that are too far away are not affected at all. Only objects the right distance away will begin to orbit.

He made a great effort to understand the science and to tell us all about it. Seeing his pleasure in the success of his demonstrations was wonderful.

All in all, today was a very good day to be home educating!
I am really delighted with the success of this approach so far, and looking forward to the next projects!


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